In 1987 a radical change was made to the layout of the Mt Panorama race circuit at Bathurst. A bend was put into the straight. That right, left, right combination of turns became known as Caltex Chase. Through the years other sponsors have tried to take ownership of “the Chase” but true fans have always called it “Caltex Chase” – this year, the name is official again.
Caltex have today announced that to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bathurst race, the Chase will once again be known officially as “Caltex Chase”.
The drivers know it, and love it – four times winner and Caltex ambassador Craig Lowndes says “The high-speed right hander at the entry to the chase is the fastest corner on an Australian race track, and it’s one that most drivers really enjoy,” according to four-times Bathurst winner and Caltex ambassador Craig Lowndes.
“You know you’re on a fast lap when you can go through there without lifting off” he said.
The naming rights deal covers the next three years so no more new names to remember for a while.
Caltex’s own release states that “the Chase” ” was added in preparation for the 1987 running of the Bathurst 1000 – a round of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) – because Conrod Straight exceeded the maximum length allowed under WTCC rules.”
In fact the Chase was a part of a change to the circuit that most likely did include those regulations, but also came as a response to the death of Mike Burgman on Conrod straight in 1986, his car became uncontrollable after coming over one of the many rises in the straight down toward the bridge, resulting in a fatal crash under the bridge on Conrod. The Chase was put in place to slow cars toward the end of the lap on what was an insane piece of racetrack – coming downhill in a straight line flat out.